Margaret River boasts a Mediterranean climate, white-sand beaches, welcoming hotels, cooking classes, a multi-award winning restaurant serving fantastic food, a perfect blend of top-notch wines and contemporary Australian art, concerts, artistic events and interesting winemakers. Not many wineries can offer such a range all at once.
Leeuwin Estate, set up in 1974 by Denis Horgan – a businessman and a beer-drinking surfer – is a family winery that celebrates wine, food and its long association with the arts, born out of the Art Series labels on its premium wines. It was in the year 1960 that Horgan came across this farm while surfing the Margaret River waves. A few years later, Denis Horgan and Robert Mondavi started the estate and now the two of them have turned land where there was nothing into a great winery with unique wine-related contemporary art installations on site.
Set in a 120-acre property, the winery offers a complete tourist experience – beautiful rooms tucked among the vines, as well as exciting behind-the-scenes wine-making techniques – a blend of modern and traditional methods. If you’re planning a full day of tasting here, be sure to sample the vineyard’s best -- Chardonnays and classic Cabernets – in a setting with a panoramic view of karri trees, rolling lawns and the ocean. Leeuwin’s large and friendly restaurant really is a delicious treat: you can try the freshwater Blue Ridge marron with crème Fraiche, and go for wine- and food- tastings, where a selection of Shiraz, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon are served with various dishes.
Today, Leeuwin has also become a vibrant cultural hub: it stages an annual alfresco summer concert (sometimes twice a year) with music ranging from country and folk to post-punk and experimental. Other highlights include a tour of the cellars, and a look at how the Chardonnay undergoes fermentation in imported French oak barrels ensuring that the grapes are transformed into the type of wine that the vineyard is striving for.
Long after you've finished your dinner, and the last sips of Chardonnay are drained from your glass, the memory of a great food and beverage experience will linger on in your memory. -- Anisha